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10 things to know about Emory’s 2022 Commencement
Emory University graduates

Emory University will celebrate its Class of 2022 with in-person Commencement ceremonies on the Atlanta and Oxford campuses for the first time since 2019.

— Emory Photo Video

Emory University will celebrate its Class of 2022 with in-person Commencement ceremonies May 6-9 on the Atlanta and Oxford College campuses, the first campus-hosted celebrations since 2019.

As the time draws near, here are 10 things you need to know about the celebrations.

1. Tyler Perry is this year’s Commencement speaker and one of three honorary degree recipients.

Georgia-based entertainment entrepreneur and visionary Tyler Perry will deliver the keynote address at the Emory University Commencement ceremony on Monday, May 9. See below for how you can hear his speech by either attending in person or watching online.

Born and raised in New Orleans, Perry is a world-renowned producer, director, actor, screenwriter, playwright, author, songwriter and entrepreneur. He is the mastermind behind 17 feature films, 20 stage plays, seven television shows and a New York Times bestselling book. Perry also is known for his wide-ranging philanthropic work, both personally and through the Perry Foundation.

Emory will confer honorary degrees on three individuals at the Commencement ceremony: Perry, Louise R. Glenn and Sally Q. Yates.

Glenn is a founding trustee of The Wilbur & Hilda Glenn Family Foundation, where she helps lead the foundation’s work on cancer research, civil and human rights, and health and wellness. The foundation established the Glenn Family Breast Center in 2013, the first named center for a specific type of cancer for Emory’s Winship Cancer Institute. She also was a founding member of the Board of Advisors for Winship. 

Yates is a former acting U.S. attorney general and former U.S. deputy attorney general. During her nearly three decades at the Department of Justice (DOJ), Yates was responsible for all of DOJ’s 113,000 employees, all U.S. Attorney’s offices and the Bureau of Prisons, and was instrumental in setting DOJ’s enforcement priorities and initiatives. Yates also will speak at the Emory School of Law graduation on Sunday, May 8. 

2. Commencement returns to the Quad, and graduates and their guests need tickets to attend in person.

The main Emory University ceremony on Monday, May 9, returns to the Emory Quadrangle at 8:30 a.m. Graduating students and their guests are invited to attend in person and enjoy the pomp and circumstance of Emory’s processional march featuring full academic regalia, Tyler Perry’s keynote address, honorary degree presentations, President Gregory L. Fenves’ address to the graduating class and the formal conferral of all student degrees earned. Registration and tickets are required.

3. Not a graduating student? You can still get involved or watch online.

Members of the Emory community who are not graduating students or their guests can also join the celebration. Faculty can participate in the processional (learn about faculty participation). Many thanks go to staff members who responded to the invitation to participate as a volunteer. The response was so great that all volunteer roles are filled and volunteer registration is closed. 

You can also watch online: The May 9 ceremony will be livestreamed from the Emory Commencement 2022 website and will be available for viewing afterwards.

4. In-person attendees must follow safety protocols.

All graduates, guests and others at the in-person Commencement ceremonies should follow any safety protocols that are in place. Masks are optional in most spaces on Emory’s campuses, and they are required on Emory shuttles and buses until further notice. Please review the Emory Forward website to learn more about COVID-19 safety guidelines while on campus.

In the event of potentially dangerous weather, check the university’s website, or call the dangerous weather hotline (404-727-1234) after 7 p.m. Sunday for the status of Commencement activities scheduled for Monday. Check the Commencement website for details about plans in case of dangerous weather.

5. Numerous celebrations will occur before Commencement.

From Class Day Crossover to Baccalaureate to school diploma ceremonies, there is a full slate of events surrounding Commencement to honor the Class of 2022. The celebration begins with an open house for graduating students at the home of President Gregory L. Fenves on April 30 and continues through May 9.

Special Belonging and Community Justice graduation festivities honor graduating Latinx students (May 7), Black students (May 7), Asian Pacific Islander Desi / American graduates (May 8) and students who are the first in their families to graduate from college (May 8); ceremonies honoring women and LGBTQ students have already been held. Learn about those ceremonies here.

Class Day Crossover, a student-organized event for those receiving undergraduate degrees, will be Thursday, May 5, at 6:30 p.m. The evening will include a student reception, inspiring remarks from former NASA astronaut and retired U.S. Navy Capt. Scott Kelly and Emory leaders, and the presentation of senior awards (including the Boisfeuillet Jones Medals). The Candlelight Crossover tradition continues when graduating undergraduate students will cross as a group from the Emory Student Center to McDonough Field for a party in their honor.

Emory alumni, faculty, staff and trustees also are invited to a special pre-Crossover Reception, and to cheer on the graduates during the Candlelight Crossover. This group will then join the party on McDonough Field for a final Coke toast to the graduates.

The Class of 2022 Multifaith Baccalaureate Ceremony will be Friday, May 6, at 4:30 p.m. in Cannon Chapel. The program will celebrate the academic and personal journeys of the graduating senior class and send the class into the world with music, prayers, inspiring reflections and blessings. The Oxford College Baccalaureate Ceremony will be at Old Church on Friday, May 6, at 5 p.m.

View the Commencement events schedule.

6. Honors will extend beyond the graduates.

Commencement will pay tribute to several individuals and groups in addition to the graduates.

The Exemplary Teacher of the Year Award and the Thomas Jefferson Award, which honors faculty or staff who have significantly enriched the intellectual and civic life of the Emory community, will be presented during the May 9 Emory University Commencement ceremony. Other honors presented to faculty and staff during Commencement events include:

Members of the Society of Corpus Cordis Aureum, a group of alumni celebrating 50 or more years since their graduation, will also be honored at the Oxford and Atlanta ceremonies. You can recognize them in their distinctive gold Commencement robes.

7. Be prepared for special parking and transportation situations.

Expect heavy traffic on the Atlanta campus Friday, May 6, and Monday, May 9. Staff who are not involved in Commencement are encouraged to work remotely on those days, if possible. University parking deck gates will be open for Commencement guests at no charge from Friday, May 6, through Monday, May 9. Visitor parking fees will still apply in the Lowergate East and Lowergate West decks since they support Emory University Hospital and the Emory Clinic patients and visitors.

A modified shuttle schedule will be in place Monday, May 9. Check the Transportation and Parking Services website for specific route information. You can also track Commencement shuttles in real time on the Transloc Rider website or by downloading the Transloc Rider app.

8. Services for those needing hearing or mobility assistance will be offered.

Live-captioning will be available for the university ceremony on the Quad on May 9. A passenger drop-off area is located on Dowman Drive near the Administration Building, closest to the accessible seating area of the Quadrangle. If someone from your party needs special seating, please register for tickets for that area through MarchingOrder by Thursday, April 28. Emory University does not provide wheelchair rental services, but several vendors can help with rental arrangements. Visit the Emory Commencement “Planning Your Visit” page and click on “Prior to the Event” for details.

9. Share your memories with the graduating class.

Congratulate Class of 2022 graduates or share memories of your time together by leaving a message on the virtual Memory Wall. Messages and photos can be uploaded for specific students or schools; you can also search memories that others have shared by student or school.

10. Join the celebration with #Emory2022.

Use the #Emory2022 hashtag to join the Commencement celebration on social media posts. You might even see your post shared on the university’s social media accounts.

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